Even with all of the controversy surrounding the health of their players, I still love professional football, and especially the San Francisco 49ers. They may be well past their glory days, but they are my hometown team and longtime football love.
In working with travel marketers and brands, I’m always on the lookout for articles that help those professionals make their jobs easier. If they can relate to something that most people love outside their professional lives, so much the better. If it’s something that I personally have a passion for, that’s the biggest bonus of all.
Here’s how travel marketers can take these strategies from the NFL and make them their own to attract customers and grow revenue.
Build trust with your audience
It used to be really hard to watch Thursday night games on television, unless you had the NFL Network channel or your home team was one of the two playing. But with some cooperation from social network channels, more people can tune in than before. Twitter now live streams ten of these games, in addition to the paid NFL apps.
Lesson from the gridiron: Try to find a trusted platform for your fans and followers to experience your content. The current trend seems to point to live streaming video sites like Facebook, Meerkat and Periscope. See if this can work for your brand.
Have your trips support your brand
If you’ve noticed with each of the 32 teams, they all look different. But each associate themselves with the larger NFL organization. You see that in the merchandise, advertising and media. You can definitely have your favorite team, but you always know that you’re following pro football.
Lesson from the gridiron: Make sure that no matter what you promote, from your trips to your merchandise, your brand is always included alongside it.
Engage your biggest fans
Did you know that the NFL didn’t really do much to support fantasy football at first? Yes, it seems hard to believe. But now there are separate websites, TV programs, social media and even their own offshoots of the fantasy genre. Basically, the organization recognizes its most fervent fans and gives them products that increase loyalty.
Lesson from the gridiron: How are you recognizing and supporting your most ardent fans and followers? Think about ways to reward that support, with members-only offerings, exclusive content, social media sites…you get the idea.
Pace your growth
The NFL didn’t grow too quickly or too slowly with their expansion teams. They didn’t make hasty decisions to approve the moving of others, and they only scheduled a few games at international venues like London. Obviously, they knew how to move things along at the right time by observing market forces and revenue growth.
Lesson from the gridiron: Make sure that you don’t get caught up in the growth trap and try to offer too much too soon. At the same time, don’t be too cautious and wait to expand your travel offerings.
Give ’em the goods all the time
The regular NFL season goes from September to February, but they certainly don’t shut down their content marketing during the off-season. With the combine (where college draftees showcase their athletic abilities to the teams) after the Super Bowl, the draft in the spring, minicamps in the summer and training camp and preseason in August, it’s a constant stream that fans can’t get enough of.
Lessons from the gridiron: Here’s the perfect reason why you need to keep up your blog posts, newsletters, social media postings and interaction – whatever you choose to create quality content to keep your brand top of mind with your audience.
Remember why you’re appreciated
Controversy seems to swirl around the NFL nearly all year long, with news stories documenting some troubling aspect about players, coaches or the league itself. But the reason why fans keep coming back for more is its singular focus on the game. There’s nothing like the thrill of watching a great play or having an underdog team take one away from a dominant one.
Lessons from the gridiron: Always showcase why people love your company, whether that’s highlighting the activities, destinations or people of your vacations.
Have you used any of these strategies that the NFL has made successful, and made your travel business just as? Let me know in the comments!